At some point, an organization may reach a plateau in its growth trajectory, where revenues and operations will start to stabilize. These business plateaus can be an entrepreneur's best accomplishment and worst fear. While a plateau, or feeling like you've reached a status quo, can be a sign of a healthy business, it also signifies the potential for stagnation. Companies that get stuck in their comfort zones run the risk of becoming laggards. That's why it's important to introduce new products and services that keep pace with overall market demands.
What should you do when innovation stalls? If your team is too busy to come up with new ideas or an unexpected scenario has changed important dynamics in the market, you need to take a step back and get creative. Here are three ways to overcome business plateaus.
Team Up With a Strategic Partner
It can be challenging for a resource-conscious small business owner to risk existing successes to explore a new opportunity. One way to help minimize risk is to team up with an existing, trusted partner. For instance, you may decide to launch some co-branded marketing initiatives, such as company-sponsored webinars for reaching new audiences.
Partners can inspire a shift in perspective and introduce new approaches to problem solving.
Launch a New Product Line
If you've achieved full-market penetration, it may be time to expand your horizons and introduce a new product or service to your business. For example, if you run a consulting company, consider launching education products. If you run a software company, you may want to launch a conference series or additional products to add to your repertoire.
Test Out Experimental Initiatives
When your business plateaus, your cash flow becomes more predictable, which introduces new sources of flexibility. You don't need to worry about any sudden changes — provided that your market is stable — so it can be a good time to launch an experimentation program. By committing a portion of your employees' time to innovation, you'll start to develop new ideas.
It may help to give your team some structure for exploring new terrain. Do your research and check out some open source resources available to help you build and run business experiments.
Be diligent and avoid the common pitfall of moving forward in launching new initiatives quickly. Don't rush change: a plateau means that you're stable. Outsmart your business plateau in a way that aligns with your long-term strategic direction. Give yourself the flexibility and space to keep experimenting with new strategic ideas.
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